Monday, May 11, 2009

research, inspirations and chips on brick lane :)

Last night (for a bit of research or maybe we just fancied a night out!) Sarah and I went to see 'England' at the Whitechapel Gallery. We both remarked that it's always interesting to see other ways in which people incorporate transplantation in to the arts and this was no exception.

The story of a girl waiting and receiving a heart transplant is told by two actors with the added extra of sounds and a walk around the gallery. Definitely worth a visit if you are interested in this sort of thing. However the story did incorporate an ending which wasn't very transplant-friendly (without ruining it for you, it doesn't stick to facts) so I think Sarah and I will both be writing to the gallery asking that they do state that the play isn't based on truth in order to avoid scaring any potential donors. We then headed off to Brick Lane and shared some chips whilst talking about Gifts of Life, as always it was good to share ideas :)

On another note I have been researching lots of photographers for inspiration for my photos. I have always been a big fan of Annie Leibowitz, Martin Parr and Mary Ellen Mark but I have also been sifting through the billions of photos on Flickr. There are so many amazing photographers on there, and I love the fact that all these photos are at my finger tips. Here's a little montage (is that the right word?!) of some of my faves so far...

Sunday, May 10, 2009


So I have come to the conclusion about three things this weekend - houseboats are totally awesome, colanders should not be put facing upwards in the dishwasher and that there is no end to the amazing support and kindness of the people in the organ transplant community which has been overwhelming.

One example of this was the lovely BBQ that Andy put on for me and Dan this weekend on his houseboat. In August 2007 Andy received a kidney from his close friend and band mate Maff and thanks to Maff's selflessness Andy no longer has to endure hours of PD every day, and I know only full well how tiring and grotty that can make you feel.

Only three days after the transplant Andy and Maff were playing Jazz in the hospital foyer - they even improvised the same part at exactly the same time...spooky!

After the transplant Andy set up Have One of Mine and formed 'Big Buzzard and the Organ Grinders' and releasing a single to encourage others to think about giving the gift of life. All proceeds from the sale of the single went to Live Life Then Give Life. You can purchase the single here - and I've placed the video below. Warning : It's incredibly catchy and will get stuck in your head all day!

It's always really great to meet people that have gone through the same thing as me, there was definitely an instant bond with Andy and it was great to compare stories and experiences. We are going to organise for me to come and take a photo of Andy and Maff soon which I am really looking forward to. Meanwhile here's a few from the day....


Early evening sun on the river, taken from Andy's houseboat

Sardines about to go on the BBQ

Andy getting the BBQ ready

Battersea Power Station

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

dates for my diary

Over the next week I am meeting two of the people I am going to be photographing. Very excited to meet them and to find out more about their kidney transplant experiences and see how well they are now! More soon....

In the meantime check out Sarah's blog to hear how her first couple of shoots went....

Monday, May 4, 2009


Thanks muchly to Dan who spoke to the computer in web language and came up with this (I'm paying him in rocky road later). It's pretty basic at the moment but I'll be adding more links to it soon and a shop. Watch this space...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Give and Let Live Photography Project

Hello to all those who have skipped over to this blog from my usual one :) and hello to any new readers out there, and welcome to my Give and Let Live photography blog.

In this blog I am going to be documenting my journey within my project - who I meet, how my photography develops and the impact it has on me as a person. I will be regularly updating it with posts about what I am up to and where I am at with everything. I will also write about the amazing people I am taking photos of, meetings to do with the exhibition, fundraising and Sarah's Gifts of Life project.

To any newbies out there and to anyone who is wondering what on earth I am going on about here is a bit of background on the project....

A few months ago Sarah Milne, photographer and Mum of William who received a small bowel transplant last year, came up with the fab idea of a photography exhibition documenting people waiting for an organ transplant and also people who had received one. Gifts of Life was born. Having just gone through the small matter of a kidney transplant (Hi Oli!) I decided (with Sarah's kind permission) to jump on board and then my project Give and Let Live was born.

Sarah has set up a website which you can view here - containing information on the project and also a gallery which will be regularly updated with photos over the next few months.

Project Mission Statement

I was diagnosed with ESRF (end stage renal failure) in 2003, and waited five long years on the transplant list for a new kidney. My amazing friend Oli came forward and donated his kidney to me in October 2008. This act of pure selflessness has literally changed my life, I have never felt better. As part of The Gift of Life exhibition I am going to be doing a series of portraits of live donors and their recipients.

My aim of the project is to capture the strong bond between a kidney recipient and live donor. This is such a special and extraordinary relationship. I want the photos to represent this relationship and the donor's heroic act and to explore the bond between donors and recipients whether it be friends, family members, altruistic, work colleagues or spouses.

It takes a very special person to donate an organ in order to save another's life. Having a strong understanding of the process of living kidney donation I am particularly interested in the donors themselves – why they made the decision that many others wouldn't even consider and the recipient – how they felt receiving the gift of life from someone they know. I want my photos to reflect this.

During my time spent with my subjects I will no doubt be swopping hospital experiences and transplant stories. I think that the fact that I will have a huge amount in common with my subjects will give the project a different outlook and help me bond with them more easily, which I hope will be reflected in the photos.

I will meet with the couple beforehand to chat and get a sense of their personalities and then decide on the set up and location of the photo. What I'd like to achieve is a picture where the viewer has a sense of who these people are and how they feel, I want to move people and inspire them.

The photos are going to be used specifically to raise awareness of organ donation, and also support and promote the charity Life Life Then Give Life. The photos are going to be exhibited at the Menier Gallery from the 14th - 19th December alongside Sarah's photos, with the plan of more exhibitions across the country. The photos will also appear on my blog and website, and I will make up a booklet for the exhibition will will contain all the photos I will have taken throughout the project.

My passion is photography. I've studied it at University of the Arts in London and been lucky enough to have been commissioned to work for various companies such as Innocent Drinks, Art In Site and Divertimenti Cookery School. You can view my photos at My own personal website is in the making!

I am looking for people to appear in these photos. I'd love to hear from anyone who has had a living donor kidney transplant, or anyone who has a living donor transplant planned for in the future. Please get in touch at if you are interested in being photographed or have any questions about the project

Please also get in touch if you are interested in helping out with the project or exhibition in any way. As I will need to fund the printing and framing of the photos, I will be trying to raise funds and looking for sponsorship. Sarah and I are also looking for any other venues that might be suitable to exhibit the photos. So if you can help in anyway, that would be absolutely fantastic...It's all about getting the word out about organ donation!